| Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | End Season 1 - Epilogue |
| Begin Season 2 - Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15 | Ch. 16. | Ch. 17 | Ch. 18 | Ch. 19 | Ch. 20 | Season 2 - Epilogue |
| Ch. 21 | Ch. 22 | Ch. 23 | Ch. 24 | Ch. 25 | Ch. 26 | Ch. 27 | Ch. 28 | Ch. 29 | Ch. 30 | Season 3 - Epilogue |
| Toilet Demons Project |
| Ch. 31 | Ch. 32 | Ch. 33 | Ch. 34 |

TITLE: It Starts With Faith
CHAPTER: Twenty One
AUTHOR: Dreiser
EMAIL: dreiser0@earthlink.net
ICQ #: 37674780
HOMEPAGE: http://www.lvdi.net/~reddeath/dreiser.htm
ISWF ARCHIVES: http://www.altfic.com/ http://members.aol.com/xwpmom/dreiser.htm
CONTENT: F/F romance. Don't like it, don't read it.
SUMMARY: An alternate reality series that places Faith as the one true slayer aka the chosen one for her generation.
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing but my Goose Island ale. Heh, yeah. Is that a freaky brand name or what?
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The name of Jenny's magic shop was suggested not once, but twice! Cool, huh? By two ladies who define coolness, Shaych and Lisa Countryman. It's an epidemic, y'know. I can't think of names for things.

It Starts With Faith
By: Dreiser

-Twenty Two-

There was a time when Detective Kate Lockley thought nothing could be worse than the time she worked in the homicide department of the L.A.P.D.

That theory was blown out of the water when she accepted the request of her old friend and former homicide detective, David Benard, to come to Sunnydale and assist in the missing persons case of Willow Rosenberg.

What got to Kate at first were the local cops. They were split into two groups. The first group was total idiots and the second was apathetic losers. They didn't do their jobs well and they didn't seem to care about it either.

And to add to that, they seemed to gloat whenever Kate or David came up short on a lead. Like it somehow proved that they were just as bad as them. Or that maybe, Kate and David weren't really better investigators than them.

Yeah, right.

As much as Kate found the local cops frustrating, other things began to spring up. Namely, the fact that the friends of their victim were incredibly uncooperative. They refused to give vital information, they snubbed her at every turn, and they had this look of anger in their eyes when Kate would interview them.

Anger at Kate, anger that seemed to say they thought she shouldn't even be bothering. That she was just wasting her time with the investigation.

This drove Kate nearly insane with frustration and David knew this as he had to hear about it almost every day. But then, everything took a turn for the worse and Cordelia Chase, who just happened to be close friends with Willow Rosenberg, was found missing as well. That she'd never been on board the doomed Flight 903, New York to Los Angeles.

Now Kate had another girl to find and she had to talk to those same uncooperative and angry friends again. And just like before, she came up empty. They didn't tell her anything that she didn't already know and as they said the same old story, Kate knew, she just knew, that there was more behind this. That there was some sort of hidden tie between all of these events and that the friends of these two girls knew all about it.

Being a cop, Kate knew when things seem like they can't get any worse, they usually do. That's why she almost wasn't surprised when the murders started.

Vicious and brutal, they had no rhyme or reason, and they filled the citizens of Sunnydale with fear.

Tonight was the night of the fourth murder. Four murders in four nights. Almost like clockwork.

There were no clues, no traces of evidence, no fingerprints, and the crime scenes were meticulously clean, leaving Kate to theorize that the victims had been killed far from the location at which they were found.

She also knew this because the victims... they were posed, put on a sickening sort of display.

Without helping it, a shudder ran through Kate. It was so much like her last case. The one that caused her to leave the homicide department. So many years had passed, nearly five now but still, she remembered it like it was yesterday.

How could she forget the worst things she ever saw?

The problem was, with these murders, Kate was starting to think that case was nothing compared to this one. Especially with all of the strange links appearing.


Turning to look at David in his worn black khaki pants and rumpled long sleeved green cotton shirt that was never tucked in, Kate's blue gray eyes that flashed with humor. Despite the years that had passed he still looked almost exactly the same as when he was her partner. Of course, now his strawberry blonde hair was cropped fairly close to his head to hide his premature balding. But he still made a handsome looking man in her opinion.

"Dave," she drew his name out fondly. "Don't you ever get sick of sucking that stuff down?"

"Nope," replied David, sipping on his coffee. "Ah, the mocha rich taste of coffee. So," he paused to study the scene before them. "What do you think? Nasty stuff, huh?"

"Very," Kate agreed. She ran her eyes over the scene, taking it apart with expert detail. "We've got a serial killer, Dave. You know it and I know it. These murders are far too well planned for anything else."

"Reminds me of our strangler boy," said David quietly, his eyes meeting Kate's, recalling the case that had caused both of them to end their partnership in the force. The case that caused him to leave completely and Kate to transfer to the missing persons unit. "Same cold calm."

"Yeah," said Kate quietly. Looking back to him, she said, "We got the tests back on the blood. It's just like the others before. Not the vic's, but the blood of those two girls."

"Willow and Cordelia," supplied David. His eyes were careful as they studied Kate. "You still don't want to get close to the victims do you, Katie? Scares you."

"We all have our fears," Kate murmured. "But its hard to get close to these girls, we know next to nothing about them. It's almost like they led secret lives."

"Don't all teenagers?" asked David humorously. "I will agree with you though," he paused and subtly looked to one side. "They seem to have double lives. Their hidden little friends over there prove that much."

Blue gray eyes moved smoothly across the room and Kate locked her gaze on the disappearing figures of three very familiar people. "I don't believe it," muttered Kate. "How in the hell did they get in here?"

"How did they get into the other scenes?" David asked, watching them disappear as well. "I think that it's high time we pay them another friendly visit. Perhaps at the oh so lovely magic shop that Miss Calendar runs?"

Quirking an eyebrow, Kate looked to David and sighed on seeing his innocent features. "She's a suspect in two missing persons cases and now a string of murders. I do hope that you remember that, Dave."

"But she's also cute," defended David impishly.

Shaking her head at this, Kate directed her attention back to the crime scene and wondered what she had been wondering since the very first murder. Why, with the horrible way the victims had been gutted and then strung up, with all of their blood missing, was there no blood on the scene? What sort of person could do this?

And most important of all, why were the mysterious messages found on the walls of the crime scenes written with the blood of Willow Rosenberg and Cordelia Chase?

What did it all mean? And who was behind it?

Kate knew that even if it was the last thing that she did as a Police Officer, she had to find out the answers to these questions.


Looking around the magic shop, Giles wondered once again where Jenny had found the money to open it when the Council gave them both such meager salaries. He then wondered just why he let Jenny get away with naming it Techno Pagan Ltd. when they didn't sell anything close to being a computer in the shop. There were all of those strange computer programs though. Demons for Dummies and the like, but why anyone would want that when they could just get a book was a mystery to him. Part of him was even starting to regret joining her in this odd business venture.

But all of Giles' wondering got cut short because with the entrance of Faith, Buffy, and Jenny their meeting was about to start. With the failure of Amy's powerful locating spell and the string of murders they found themselves rushed for time and results.

"How did it go?" asked Vince, quickly rising to his feet, his chocolate brown eyes full of concern.

"They spotted us as we left," said Jenny, looking to Giles as she said this. "Lockley and Benard."

"Don't they always spot you?" Giles asked a bit wryly before he focused his attention on Faith who had her jaw clenched and her eyes dark. "Faith...?"

"It was their blood again," Faith ground out tightly. "That slimy bastard is writing on the wall with their blood, G-man. We gotta stop him, we gotta rescue them before he starts doing more than that."

"We will," assured Giles, quietly clasping her shoulder and turning Faith around to face him. "I promise that we will, Faith."

"You promise?" asked Faith huskily. Her eyes were wet and in a weary movement, she rested her head against Giles' chest and let out a tired breath.

"On my life," Giles nodded, holding her gently.

"No," Faith shook her head abruptly in a strong movement. "Don't ever promise on that."

Buffy averted her eyes from the sad scene and looked to Amy, who couldn't hide the look of excitement in her eyes. "Hey witchy witch," Buffy said fondly. "You have some good news for us or you just feeling perky?"

"Both," Amy replied quickly, rushing forward to stand in front of Buffy. She thrust a large spell book out towards the group. "I just found this unpacking in the back and well, I had to do one of the spells in it. This one."

The entire group, except for Xander who was wandering out of the shop's store room, peered forward to look at the spell book carefully.

"A barrier detection spell?" asked Jenny, meeting Amy's eyes. "Of course! Why didn't I realize it?"

"I didn't realize it until today either," Amy said as she looked sheepish. "It explains everything though."

"Explains what?" asked Faith, looking from Amy to Jenny and then back again. "What's going on?"

"Kakistos has a spell on Willow and Cordelia that keeps us from being able to locate them with magic," said Amy, her eyes meeting Faith's. "That's why that locating spell I cast with Jenny the other day didn't work."

"Of course," Giles murmured. "It makes perfect sense, considering Kakistos' background in magic."

"So, wait, we can't use magic now?" Buffy interrupted, waving her hands a bit. "How are we supposed to find Will and Cordelia then?"

"Good old fashioned snooping," said Xander, arriving at Amy's side in the group. "Maybe go back to shaking down Mikey and the Route 666 patrons for information again?"

"Yeah, that's what we gotta do," Faith murmured. She looked to Buffy and said, "C'mon, Buff, lets go."

Faith then turned to head out the door, Buffy right behind her, only to pause as she saw figures through the glass window approaching in the distance. Looking back at the group, she said, "Our two favorite donut suckers are coming this way."

"Take the back door," Jenny said, jerking her head towards the store room. "We'll deal with them."

"You got it," said Faith with a nod.

"Later, Watcher lady!" Buffy called out.

"What about us?" asked Vince, his eyes concerned. "Should we hide or something?" He shifted his weight and said rather anxiously, "Because I wouldn't mind. Those cops are starting to make me nervous."

"I can relate," said Jenny fondly, her eyes understanding. "Go help Amy and Xander out in the store room. There's still a few things that need organizing."

"Yeah, a few million things," Xander added humorously, giving Vince a light push on the back. "C'mon buddy, let me introduce you to the fun world of lifting and arranging heavy spell books that are ancient and will never leave the store room because Jenny won't sell them."

"The books back there are interesting, Vince. We found one that has a spell that lets you speak to weasels!" exclaimed Amy as they disappeared into the store room.

The last thing Giles and Jenny heard before the door to the store room closed was Vince saying, "But why would anyone want to talk to weasels?"

"You know," began Giles after a moment of silence as he moved to stand behind the counter and poured himself a cup of tea. "I think Mr. Benard finds himself fond of you and that's why he's in here so often. Dragging poor Detective Lockley along."

"Hmm, you think?" Jenny quirked an eyebrow, her voice low and sensuous with laughter. "Interesting theory."

"Although," Giles continued, taking a sip of his tea. "I do notice you seem to enjoy irritating Detective Lockley far more than talking with Mr. Benard."

"We all have our preferences, Rupert," Jenny remarked with a playful smile. "And Detective Lockley does look awfully cute when she's irritated, you know."

"Hmm," murmured Giles, smiling slightly.

Just then, the cute and apparently easily irritated Detective entered the magic shop with the ring of a little bell placed on the door. Offering her best charming smile, Jenny drawled, "Detective Lockley, how nice to see you."

The only response she got was a slight scowl.

It was too bad for Kate Lockley that it was a scowl that Jenny Calendar delighted in seeing.

Too bad indeed.


The voice returned to them today.

Or was it tonight? They still couldn't tell. Whatever time it was, the voice had returned once again.

Returned with its news and its taunts. Telling them of all the things that it had done and would continue to do as they sat in the dark, helpless to stop them.

Helpless to know what was truly going on.

How could they when they didn't even know who they were and what they were doing here? Listening to the voice and sitting in the unending darkness that held them.

Perhaps this was where they belonged. In the darkness, surrounded by despair, the voice said as much.

Lately, it seemed that they had company besides the voice. Another captive that would yell at the voice and say that they deserved their freedom so let them loose.

They wondered, did they deserve freedom too? It was hard to tell what they deserved when they couldn't even remember who they were or what they'd done with their life so far. Their life, they had a life once...

The voice had told them that much.

They had a life, they had people who loved them, they had friends and family, they had... they had someone who was very special to them.

They had someone who was in love with them.

That was what the voice said and it also said that person wasn't there anymore. That no one would be there for them if they ever escaped. That they'd all be gone.

Gone because the voice would kill them.

They shivered at the thought of it. Those people, the ones they didn't know dying when they couldn't even remember who they were. There was a sadness to it that they just couldn't explain.

The other prisoner had been quiet of late. They wondered aimlessly if perhaps they were dead now. That maybe all of their noise had upset the voice and it killed them because of it. Certainly, that seemed like something the voice would do.

It could be harsh at times. That was its nature, to be harsh, vicious, and unforgiving.

Because of that, all those things were now the simple reality of their life. It was all that they knew now. Sometimes they would wonder if they would ever know anything different than that.

They somehow doubted it.


Mikey the Slimebag wasn't having a good night.

In fact, he hadn't been having good nights ever since the Rosenberg girl went missing. Because since then the Slayers had been in his club almost every night, using his establishment as a place for information shake downs.

"I told you," Mikey grimaced, carefully pulling Faith's fingers away from their death grip around his neck. "I don't know where those two girls are and I don't know why the hell Kakistos' cronies are using their blood for abstract painting jobs on people's walls. Maybe they got a funny sense of decorating, huh?"

"Nice try, no dice," Faith growled, tightening her grip and smiling when Mikey gasped. Slamming him back into the wall, she said, "Now you start talking to us, Mikey. We wanna know exactly what Special K is up to."

"Wait," interrupted Buffy, fixing her eyes on Mikey as they lit up. "You said Kakistos' cronies. Why them?"

"Because," gasped Mikey, his gaze moving to Buffy who seemed to be the sane Slayer tonight. "Kakistos left town a couple of days ago. Went back to Greece, I heard it from some of his hired guys. They said he had to go back there and grab some ancient pendant. One that'd help increase his magic powers."

"Pendants," Faith muttered to herself while she recalled the pendant that Zac had given Willow to awaken her Oracle persona. "It's always gotta be pendants, doesn't it?"

"Hey, they work, magic wise," Mikey remarked and Faith blinked at the demon, surprised to see that he had somehow sneaked out of her hold. Noticing this, he smirked at Faith and said, "I got tricks too, Slayer."

"Yeah, well, speaking of tricks," said Faith, her eyes glinting dangerously. "Why don't you tell us about the main guy, Mr. Trick now. He's in charge with Kakistos gone, right? Is he the one killing everyone or is it--"

"Iris?" Buffy jumped at including the blonde vampire that she disliked so much.

"Neither, far as I know," said Mikey. He frowned a bit and slicked back his thick back hair with his hand. "The only word on the street about them two is that they've got a new associate. One who's pretty loony, y'know?"

"Who is it?" Faith demanded quickly.

"Dunno," Mikey shrugged. "I don't got a name on them, nobody does. But I'm thinking that if anyone from their little group is doing this serial killer thing it's gotta be that shiny new vamp to join the K-Team, y'know? These killings just aren't the way Trick does business. He and his people are known for working subtle, that's why they get the bucks."

"So someone new is on the scene?" murmured Buffy, looking concerned as she met Faith's eyes. "This isn't good for us, I'm thinking."

"You mean that Slayers actually do think? Because I was wondering what with the cops being after you and all," said Mikey as he gave a derisive snort.

"Want your face punched in again?" Faith growled at Mikey who immediately looked chastised. "So the word on the street is that this new guy is the one who took Will and Cordelia? And the one doing the murders too?"

"Pretty much," said Mikey with a nod. "But y'know," he tilted his head to one side and made a subtle gesture towards the tinted windows of his club that let the patrons look out but didn't allow passers by to look in. "If I were you, I'd ask Trick and Iris yourselves. They're standing outside about to have a snack."

The Slayers locked their eyes and Faith looked at Buffy who quirked an eyebrow and said, "It's a plan?"

"Damn right, it's a plan," agreed Faith, walking out of the club with Buffy following close behind her.

Heaving a sigh as he watched the two girls leave his establishment, Mikey muttered, "Humans are such a pain."

Which was an understatement to say the least.


"You shouldn't be so cranky," David chided, looking at his former partner and always close friend. "I don't see how anyone can be cranky in a car like this. If my Dad knew this was what you'd look like while in the car he helped you restore all summer he'd take it back for sure."

The two had just finished their lengthy interview with Jenny Calendar and Rupert Giles and it left Kate just a bit worn around the edges. Mainly because Jenny made it a point to constantly tease the Detective with half answers all while she flashed her most charming smile. And it was enough to make poor Kate insane.

It was lucky for David that he knew the one thing that would always cheer Kate up. Betty Boop, or Boopy for short, was Kate's baby. As a cop, she didn't have the time or the energy to care for a pet, and she was admittedly horrible at dating, spent most of her free time at work, so the only thing she truly doted on was her car. A car that she bought from David's father who ran a string of auto shops around L.A. and just happened to have a run down 1969 Corvette parked at one.

An affordable purchase later and hours of work with David and his father, Kate found herself the owner of a beautifully restored Corvette which she loved with all of her heart and babied with the utmost affection. Since David knew this, he knew that by just mentioning her car he could make Kate smile.

Lucky for him, Kate knew this also and she shot her friend a wary look before she finally surrendered and gave an easy smile before patting her steering wheel softly. "I have to admit she's still a good ride, even after all I've taken her through," she murmured.

"Good ride?" asked David a bit incredulously. "Boopy is a smooth ride. Like Prince says she's a--"

"Little red corvette," Kate finished. "My car is white though," she said with a smirk before blinking. "You hate Prince. How did you know about that song?"

"Maria Alonzo and Cordelia Chase," said David earnestly. "Apparently she practically raised the girl, knew everything about her that a parent should. Gave me the impression that her parents didn't know half as much. Said that Prince was Cordelia's favorite singer, along with a bunch of other things we might use."

"Don't see how," murmured Kate. "But you're the one who likes to get inside of the vic's heads."

"It's the best way to find out what happened to them and why," said David quietly, his green eyes thoughtful as he looked out the window and at the passing scenery. "The more I know about them the more I can get inside their heads and the easier it becomes to find out why this happened."

"I don't care why this happened," said Kate, tightening her jaw as she headed towards David's townhouse that was on the edge of the town limits. "I just want to find those two girls and that killer. Who I bet has the both of them captive," she said darkly. "If he doesn't then that means he has their blood at least."

"Vampires," murmured David softly, his eyes lighting up as he realized something. "Maybe they're the ones behind this. I've heard things, Katie. Like--"

"Vampires?" echoed Kate, looking at David with a skeptical expression . "C'mon, Dave. I know you read about all of that hocus pocus stuff Miss Pin Up Calendar specializes in, but don't tell me you honestly believe in vampires now?"

"It's entirely possible," said David, solemnly meeting her gaze. "And I remember what it was like when I grew up here as a kid. Strange things always seem to happen here in Sunnydale. No one can explain it, some of the older residents say the town's cursed by demons. But no matter what causes it, strange things happen. Maybe... maybe our killer isn't a vampire, but someone who thinks that they're one. That might explain their blood being on the walls of the crime scenes and the--"

"Victims blood being missing," Kate finished, her eyes going wide with realization. "You got a good theory there, Dave. Lets look into it, start asking around and see if anyone knows someone like that." She then offered him a slight smile and said, "And it's a hell of a lot saner than saying there might be actual vampires out there."

"Yeah," David agreed, giving a sheepish chuckle. "I guess saying that was sort of crazy of me."

As Kate's car sped off into the distance, David's next words seemed to hang low in the air, almost like they were waiting there for him to take them back, before he ended up regretted saying them.

"I guess there's no such things as real vampires."


Nothing made Trick happier than a good snack. Maybe that's why his eyes seemed to sparkle, despite their yellow hue as he opened his mouth and prepared to feed on the frightened girl in front of him.

But just as he was about to sink his fangs into her delicate and sweet flesh, he found her jerked away from his hold. Trick's yellow eyes flashed in anger when he saw just who was the one who took his meal away.

"Slayers," Trick snarled. "What do you want?"

"Hey!" Iris exclaimed haughtily as her meal was snatched away as well. "I was trying to eat that!"

"What's the matter, Trick's Bunny?" asked Faith, giving a jaunty smirk despite her dark eyes that were filled with definitely nasty intentions. "Don't want to play today? Usually you're so witty and urbane with your banter."

"I'm not in the mood to banter with you today, I'm afraid," said Trick, his eyes still glinting as he shifted out of his game face. "Have too much on my mind." He wore a smirk of his own and drawled, "My, my, don't we look the picture of two tense little Slayers? Is your job finally getting the best of you? So much is going on that you have to fix after all, your friends are missing and people keep showing up gutted and missing all their blood. Tch," Trick shook his head rather sadly. "I'm sure that the Watchers Council is less than pleased with you right now."

"Shut up!" Faith growled, flying forward to grab Trick by the collar as she slammed him into the nearest wall and lifted him up off of the ground. "I don't need to hear this crap from you! I'm here to find out who your new friend is. The one killing everyone, the one who's got Will and Cordelia stashed away."

On hearing this, Trick's eyes widened with surprise and jumping on this, Faith said lowly, "Yeah, that's right. I know all about your new friend. So why don't you save me the trouble of looking and tell me where they are? If it is them doing all this, I got no problem with you. Hell, you know, I might even leave you and your bimbo girlfriend all alone for the rest of your time here. Only," Faith drew the word out in a dangerous snarl as she tightened her grip on Trick and slammed him hard into the wall. "Tell me where this guy is! Tell me where he's got Will and Cordelia!!"

"Idiot," said Trick with a low chuckle. He steadily met Faith's gaze, not a hint of fear showing. "It's beyond me why you would think I'd fear you more than them. The new guy, as you call them, was hand picked by Kakistos. I might technically be in charge but they run their own show."

"You don't control him," Faith finished, her eyes dark and wild as they met his. "Do you?"

"My dear Slayer number one," Trick drawled humorously. "I couldn't control him even if I wanted to. If he wants to slice and dice people for fun, that's his own business. The same deal with what he does with your two friends. It has nothing to do with me."

From where Iris stood, her back pressed up against Buffy's chest as the blonde Slayer had her in a choke hold, she gave a derisive laugh. "Stupid Slayers," Iris taunted them both. "Don't you even notice what time it is?"

"Time?" asked Buffy, increasing her hold on Iris who merely laughed again at this action.

"Haven't you noticed that all of the murders take place at the same time?" Iris asked, her blue eyes glinting with a manic glee. "And haven't you noticed what time it is now? I bet while we're chatting up a storm another innocent that you're supposed to protect is becoming sushi. But if you play nice we might just tell you where all of this is going on."

Immediately, Buffy's hazel eyes went wide with fear and she whirled around to face Faith who's features were dark once more. In a stiff movement, Faith let Trick fall to the ground and met his eyes in a burning gaze.

"Where?" was all Faith would say.

"He said he wanted to play in the financial district," Trick supplied, a slight smile on his lips. "To have fun with a couple of uptight bankers. Maybe it'll be two instead of one tonight, Slayers. Won't that be fun?"

Instead of replying, Faith simply hauled off and punched Trick hard in the gut, causing the vampire to give a wheeze of pain before he fell over. Walking down the alley, Faith didn't look back as she said, "Lets get going, Buff. We got ourselves a murderer to put down."

"Right," said Buffy with a nod. She focused on Iris for a moment who simply raised an eyebrow at her. "Don't think this is over," Buffy warned her. "We'll be back."

"And I'm so scared of that," Iris taunted again as she watched Buffy run away and hop onto Lil' Butchy with Faith before they went roaring off.

Iris then walked over to Trick who was slowly pushing himself up from where he sat on the ground. As he met her eyes, he wore a smile of pure delight while he said, "We've got them right where we want them, Iris."

"What do you mean?" Iris blinked. "They're worse than ever, more into our business and more determined."

"Maybe," Trick admitted. "But they're also desperate to find their friends and that desperation is what is going to push them over the edge. Especially," he drew the word out and chuckled. "Faith. She's not long for this world if she keeps up with her current attitude." His eyes lit up at the prospect and he said, "Yes, she'll burn herself out before long and they'll be nothing left of her but ashes in the wind. And we'll be partially responsible for that."

"How fun," purred Iris, her eyes lighting up happily as she pressed herself up against Trick. "Almost as fun as their completely false theories about our playmate."

Hearing this, Trick chuckled again as he wrapped an arm around Iris' shoulder. "You know, I thought they'd never be useful to us, them being partially insane and Kakistos' new pet at that, but these murders... they're perfect," he said as they walked out of the alley. "They're the perfect thing to put the Slayers on edge as they look for their friends.

"And the perfect thing to push them off that edge."


Lil' Butchy screeched to a halt in the financial district of Sunnydale and seconds after she did, Faith went jumping off of her and running down the street, with Buffy following close behind.

"Where do we look first?" Buffy shouted.

"Everywhere!" replied Faith grimly. "Everywhere until we find the bastard who did this."

"Great," muttered Buffy to herself. "That's a focused plan for sure..." She trailed off in her words as her eyes caught sight of a jimmied door to a local accounting office. "Faith!" she called out. "Check this out!"

Turning around, Faith ran over to Buffy, her eyes narrowing on seeing the door. "Bingo," she said in rough tones. "C'mon, Buff. Lets catch our murderer."

The two Slayers entered the office carefully, not noticing anything out of place or unusual looking. Then in the middle of her walk, Faith paused and her expression was one of pure disgust and loathing.

"Faith?" asked Buffy worriedly. "What is it?"

"The smell of death," supplied Faith, her voice dark and her jaw tight with stress. Moving forward with a purposeful stride, she said, "He's here all right."

Buffy trailed after Faith who slowly walked towards the office at the end of the hall, pushing the door open to reveal a horrifying sight that was all too familiar to both of the Slayers after visiting all of the murder scenes.

Three people this time. Two men and a woman, their stomachs sliced upon, organs missing, not a trace of blood visible anywhere, hanging shackled from the walls, and a message written in blood right beside them.

'You know me, I am what you most fear, because what I hold is to you most dear.'

Staring at the message and at the bodies on the wall, the bodies of people she couldn't save, the bodies of people who were killed by the same person who held both Willow and Cordelia captive, Faith collapsed down on the floor and pounded it with certain frustration.

"WHY?! Why you bastard?!" Faith shouted to the heavens as she kept hitting floor, finally falling into sobs as Buffy moved to hold her from behind. "Why are you doing all of this?! Why?!"

"Shhh, Faith," said Buffy soothingly, pulling the other Slayer to her feet and leading her away from the gruesome crime scene. "We'll catch them, I promise we will."

"Why, Buff?" continued Faith, leaning into the blonde girl as they walked out of the office. "Why is all of this happening? Why are they doing this?"

"I don't know, Faith," said Buffy sadly as they headed out of the office and prepared to call first their Watchers and then the Police with the news of what they found. "I don't know why any of this is happening."

But the figure that watched both of the Slayers from the shadows, the same one that had finished posing those lovely bodies only moments before, knew why all of this was happening. Knew and delighted in the pain that the Slayers felt by not knowing why it was happening.

Because the only thing they could enjoy in their twisted form of a life was pain. It was the only thing that made them feel alive again, made them feel excitement.

Of course, nothing was as good as the feeling caused by causing the Slayers pain. No, nothing could match that. That was the greatest feeling in the world.

Which is why the murders were happening. That and Kakistos had told them to have fun with the Slayers. To tease them, to play with their minds, to make them fall into the abyss as they looked for their friends. And these murders, they certainly seemed to do that.

Too bad Kakistos would return soon and their game would be over, because he had plans of his own. Of course, before he came back they could have one last night of true fun. One last night to try and push the Slayers over the edge and into the eternal darkness that they now dwelt in.

"Soon," they whispered into the chilly night air. "I'll come to you very soon, Faith. And when I do, you'll know a pain that's neverending. Just as I've known."

With that, they disappeared back into the shadows, back into where they lurked unseen and undisturbed.

Even by those they still held captive. 

Continue to Part 23

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